Mychal Rivera has been a productive, valuable player for the Oakland Raiders in his three seasons after being taken by general manager Reggie McKenzie in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.
As a rookie in 2013, he came on in the second half and had 38 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns. In 2014, he had a career-high 58 catches for 534 yards and four TDs. And in 2015, Rivera had 32 catches for 280 yards and one score.
In his three seasons, Rivera has shown good hands and an ability to make big plays on third downs, while also developing a good chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr.
In the Raiders’ 15-12 victory over the eventual Super Bowl-champion Broncos in 2015, Oakland tight ends Rivera and rookie Clive Walford both had big games. Rivera had three catches for a team-leading 49 yards, and head coach Jack Del Rio praised his contributions.
“Mychal’s been really solid in his role all year,” said Del Rio.
But that role was somewhat smaller in 2015, as the Raiders’ passing attack was focused more on the wide receiver corps that added Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, as well as Walford.
Now, NFL reporter Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Rivera could be on the trading block. Adam Caplan of ESPN followed up with a report that the Raiders “are very high on TE Clive Walford, want to expand his role going forward,” and view Rivera as expendable. The Raiders apparently view Walford as a potential playmaker, with veteran tight end Lee Smith also still on the team as an effective blocking tight end.
Walford, a 6-foot-4, 254-pounder from Miami, was a third-round pick in 2015 and wound up with 28 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns.
So far, no likely suitors for Rivera have emerged, but Marc Sessler of NFL.com believes there will be some teams interested in him.
“Teams needy at the position could do worse,” Sessler wrote. “At 25, Rivera has 128 catches for 1,221 yards and nine touchdowns over three seasons. Hardly an imposing blocker, he’s a better match for clubs seeking a supporting pass-catcher.”
If a trade does go through, it seems likely that Walford will be a much bigger piece of the Raiders attack in 2016.